My experiences and thoughts about transitioning at 40

  • Creator
  • #137947
    🌺 Jenny Darlene

    I was informed this could be a good place to talk about my struggles.  I have been struggling to connect with those who can help me with beginning my transition and needed a place to put my thoughts and experiences out there.  I understand that people here are not medical professionals and cannot give such advice.  I guess all I am asking for is someone to listen and maybe to hear that I am not alone and someone somewhere could relate.  Trying to find both mental health help as well as the correct places to go for support in finding not only a HRT provider but a specialist in this area has been saddening and frustrating.  This site has a excelent tool for finding resources and now that I am here I can start using it.  But I started really persuing living the remainder of my life as the Jennifer that I am for the past 5 months.  Since I was 9 I had desires to dress in female clothes and never really understood myself.  Many people know from a young age that they are female and I feel like im ostracized because that was not how my experience was.  At first it felt more like a cross dressing thing and perhaps that might have been true.  As the years past I would have desires to be a woman, not only dress as they do but also to live as one.  But these desires of mine I would supress and I would continue to try to be a man.  I do have interests in technical subjects but does that mean I am less of a woman? Many women are technically inclined or do jobs that were labeled as for the other gender.  I desire my body to match how I feel.  I wish to look pretty and have pretty things but feel that I cant because society would not accept me.  Thankfully I have been able to get out a few times in public and no real problems occurred.  My mother supports my decision (mostly) as do both of my close friends.  Though my mother is afraid to be seen in public as me dressed as Jennifer.  My friend says that he would accept me and he has had various kinds of friends so he holds no judgements, though he makes interesting comments.  He has told me that he does not see a woman in me.  That makes sence because I have not shown Jennifer to him before so how could he possibly see it.  Being born and raised to be a male I really don’t have the experience of knowing how a woman is supposed to act.  So I feel trapped in two worlds.  I have had a chance to speak to many transgender people in the past 5 months and every one of them have their own stories, experiences and opinions which I value.  Am I making a mistake? am I supposed to be a man? These are questions I ask myself.  Today I was able to pull myself together to be able to make more phone calls and it sounds very hopeful as I might hear something back on Tuesday.  Places I have called before coming to this site TGH have told me I am too old at 40 years old and that they don’t handle my age.  I would get numbers to call, and they would tell me the same things.  My doctor does not know about gender related issues and told me to contact Rainbow Health who gave me resources.  I believe what I need to do is find a psychiatrist first before committing to HRT.  This does seem like a good choice to make sure I am making the right decisions for myself.  My social skills need a lot of work to say the least and I am a very sensitive person.  I cry a lot and lack the ability to read people. I do believe there are many un-diagnosed Mental health issues that I have beyond OCD which might have been mistaken for Autism spectrum.  Currently I have referrals from my doctor to get help with these but the wait lists are so long and it feels im on a lonely path.  I need support from other transgenders in the form of hearing their stories and learning.  Someone mentioned a possibility of a sub-forum for social issues and that would help me a lot.  Thank you for listening to me rant and I hope it has not bothered anyone.

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  • Author
    • #138876
      DeeAnn Hopings


      You raise a number of important issues, so let’s see it we can address at least some of them.

      Agreed, the vast majority of folks here are not medical professionals. For those few that are, they would likely avoid diagnoses as you are not a patient and they would have no intimate knowledge of your situation. Perhaps about the best that they can do is steer you to some helpful resources. What members can do is to talk about their experiences, but you might need to do a bit of sifting to separate advice from experience.

      Your difficulty in finding resources is a bit surprising considering that you are part of metropolitan Toronto. LOTS of LGBT folks there.

      Like many other, I knew that there was something different about me from an early age. By high school/college age, I thought I was gay and those were the feelings that I suppressed for a long time. It wan’t until I was 67 that I began to understand that I was really transgender. I’m now 74.

      For a time, I thought I was a crossdresser. However, research revealed some interesting things. Crossdressers tend to have distinct male and female personas. That was never the case for me. Basically I had one persona and it was independent of presentation. The vast majority of crossdressers are heterosexual, but I knew that wasn’t the case for me. On the other hand, I was married to my first wife for 30 years and we had a daughter and a son. My daughter and her husband now have 2 daughters. I’ve been married to my 2nd wife for 18 years, but I knew her for several years before we married. She knows everything about DeeAnn and has been quite supportive.

      My basic interests have not changed, but I’ve added a few. I’m a retired mechanical engineer. My career spanned 43 years across only 2 companies. My long term interests are largely technically oriented. I’ve been a motorsports fan since childhood and it covers just about everything from Formula 1 and IndyCar to sports cars, stock cars, drag racing and hydroplanes. The only disciplines that I have not personally attended are motorcycle races, airplane races and drag races, but if TV cars, I’ve seen them all. 8 years ago I built a Hackintosh. It is currently in pieces on the kitchen counter waiting for me to complete its 2nd round of upgrades. Long term interest in mid-century architecture and at one time entertained the idea of wanting to study architecture. Amateur photographer covering Polaroids, 620 roll film, 35mm and now digital. On the other hand, I can watch an F1 race on Sunday mornings while surfing Etsy or Poshmark for silk blouses and dresses. It isn’t a contradiction because what I finally realized s that I have always been the amalgam of male and female likes and dislikes, perspectives and emotions. Because of this, I’ve never felt that I was in the wrong body, so I’ve never felt that I needed to pursue any sort of medical intervention. But, I do present as DeeAnn at least 95% of the time and very few here have ever met Don. Anyway, how you feel is how you feel and no one should attempt to invalidate that.

      The socialization part is difficult. We didn’t have mothers, older sisters, grandmothers and aunts coaching us, so largely that is knowledge that we don’t have. Even though we may look as good as Halle Berry or Ann Hathaway, our lack of social skill can out us every time. This come into play in terms of how we sit, how we talk, how deferential we are with others and many other things. I have asked for a separate forum so that we can build a body of information that will be helpful. It will be called Social Transition.

      I’ve also asked for a Coming Out forum. Similarly, there is no single place where these posts appear. They are all scattered about. Again, this isn’t a One Size Fits All situation due to the wide variations in our personal circumstances.

      Many support groups and therapy services do concentrate on young people. My guess is that finding appropriate services for young people is more difficult so some medical personnel do focus on younger ones since they probably don’t have their own insurance and finances.

      In terms of resources, have you checked the Psychology Today web site? They maintain a database of therapists including their specialties, types of services offered, pricing, etc.

      Finally, thanks for completing your Profile page. I often have to remind people, but it is important. All threads eventually sink to the bottom of the pile and get archived. They still exist, but you have to search for the. By contrast, your page will always be readily available and can be update at any time.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #138854

      Jenny, your concerns are very common.  As others have already said a good therapist would be great for you.   Also finding a group of people in a similar way is good for you to.   But many of these groups are so secretive because of the large number of trolls out there.  Meanwhile all us here at TGH are here to listen and for support.

      .  Cassie

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #138057
      Dana Munson

      Hello, Jennifer, and welcome to TGH! It’s not at all unusual to have “feminine” desires and to still be conflicted as to whether one is merely an odd man or a woman trying to break free. In my own way, I fought that battle for a couple or three decades. Spoiler alert: I finally sided with my femme instincts. Anyway, you may not need a psychiatrist to deal with your inclinations toward womanhood. Rather, you might benefit from a therapist with experience in (trans)gender issues. I say this because psychiatrists generally are here to help diagnose and treat real mental disorders. Identifying as a possibly trans-person is NOT considered a mental disorder by the AMA (although it was, many years ago). A good, experienced therapist can help you work through a variety of mental conflicts and uncertainties.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #138042

      Thank you Rowena for taking the time to write me your very supportive words.  I was away for few days and am glad to have the time to write back.  Hearing your words makes me feel better and think about how hard I am on myself.  We cant control how we are born or what challenges we are presented at birth to deal with.  I can relate to you because not only am I transgender I am on a wait list to be tested for ASD and I hope that knowing if I am or not will bring peace of mind.  What you say about what others percieve as “normal” not being perfect does make me think.  Perhaps everyone has a different normal and that it does not align with our own does not mean its not valid.

      I very much appreciate your sugestion of learning as much about HRT as I can.  For the past 6 months ive learned from others but I think its time that I start reading articles and using the resources of TGH to help me in my journey.  What I have been learning is that its a huge decision and has life changing impacts that I need to fully take into account.  This is helpful to know that there can be deceptive “trans friendly” sites and I hope that I can navigate what is out there carefully.

      Very kind words Rowena.  Many thanks to you.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #137977

      Nice to meet you, Jennifer,

      Your concerns are normal and so are you so please stop doubting who you are. I know that it far easier said than done but you can begin by acknowledging yourself as a person. As a person you, and only you, decide who you are and who you want to be. You already know that you are not comfortable being a man, or only a man. You know that you have a feminine side and she wants to express herself which is your right as a person.

      You are normal for the way you were born just as those who are born lefthanded or with red hair are normal. Being born trans is normal as is being born with ASD. I know because I was born with both those conditions and had to hide them my entire life. It was only once I accepted that this is who I am, a trans person with ASD, that I realized that this is my normal state of being.

      It doesn’t matter if it isn’t the same as what others call “normal” because their normal isn’t exactly perfect either. Here is something to always keep in mind, they don’t get to determine what is normal for you just as you don’t for them. We are all just part of a spectrum and where we are is our place and our normal, not theirs.

      Before committing to HRT your obligation is to learn as much as you can about how it will affect you and there is a lot of useful information available online with TGH being a great place to start. In addition to the physical changes there will be mental and emotional changes so having a support system is a good idea. While there are some excellent mental health sources available there are also some that are deceptive. They will pretend to be “trans friendly” while having an anti-trans agenda. If you are ASD the wrong type of therapist might do you more harm than good. Research them beforehand.

      Fortunately you have come to the right place where you can feel safe sharing what you are experiencing. Hopefully you will make some new friends who can offer you tips and advice so that your transition results in you becoming the person you are both inside and out.

      Kind regards, Rowena 👩‍🦳

      5 users thanked author for this post.
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